Soulful Spiritual Leaders…

Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you. Roger Ebert

Meditation: I am part of a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program that trains seminary students to become emotional and spiritual care providers. While these students attend seminary, they engage daily in the academic rigor of writing theoretical papers by using first of all their intellect. Therefore, most students enter this new experiential learning journey by trying to keep using mainly their “smarts”. However, what is a virtue in the first context, suddenly becomes a hindrance. Students are surprised when I ask them to initially let go of all theological terms  and academic language.  I invite them to be open to emotionally engage others and to allow very concrete vulnerable human experiences to impact their soul. Then I ask the students to use language that is emotional, spiritual and compassionate in nature to describe these encounters, rather than use language that intellectualizes, judges or analyzes. Hearing these new requirements, the students become intellectually utterly confused. And this is actually a good thing. From here, they  can move forward to get to know and trust their emotions and to discover their inner world, their “soul”. And the most amazing realization will be that learning about their own emotions will teach and guide them in everything they need to learn about providing care for others.

Prayer: God, I pray for all spiritual leaders who either work with congregations or as chaplains offering care to persons experiencing difficult times. You are the healing Spiritual Energy that wants to help us integrate all of who we are: intellect, emotions, body and soul. I pray that all spiritual leaders get the chance to learn about their inner world and not only about their intellectual abilities. I pray that more and more soulful and emotionally healthy spiritual leaders are working in Your name. Amen

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. 3. John 1:2